FTC wants a date with Ashley Madison's fembots

Bonk-hopefuls' site's fake profiles under investigation

The US Federal Trade Commission has decided to add Ashley Madison's “fembots” to the company's long list of woes.

The existence of the fembots – fake profiles used to keep men on the “Life is short, have an affair” forking out funds in case they got lucky – was revealed after the infamous hack of the site.

The investigation was revealed to Reuters, with executives from owner Avid Life Media saying the FTC was investigating the bots.

At its worst, the site was accused of having just 1 per cent of “real women” among its members: the rest of its female profiles were fembots.

The FTC takes a dim view of the use of fake profiles, and in 2014 fined UK-headquartered JDI dating more than US$600,000 in a settlement over a similar issue.

Unlike Ashley Madison, JDI Dating's FlirtCrowd actually gave users a hint about the profiles they interacted with: what the FTC describes as a “small 'v' encircled by a 'C' on the profile page” indicating the profile belonged to a “virtual cupid”. The FTC reckoned that didn't count because nobody was likely to notice it.

The company is still fending off lawsuits for the hack, and for keeping profiles of people who paid to have them deleted. ®

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